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Ed Sheeran

Wananga numbers down as COVID recovery lags

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While some polytechnics are experiencing an increase in enrollments as people who have lost jobs because of COVID-19 retrain, there has been no such surge in the wānanga sector.

Te Ururoa Flavell, the chief executive of the largest Māori tertiary institution Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, says while his wānanga wasn’t affected by the loss of foreign students, numbers are down.

Unlike universities where the majority of students are young people preparing for a career, tauira Māori are likely to be older with families and juggling jobs and study.

"So there has been a resurgence in the sector in trades and stuff like that but most of our courses are about mātauranga Māori. We have teacher training, most of which starts at the beginning of the year, so we clearly have to adapt and change the way things go on the basis of COVID,' Mr Flavell says.

Te Ururoa Flavell

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